Correct and Preferred Usage of Acute, Chronic in Articles

These terms are most often preferred to describe symptoms, conditions, or diseases; they refer to duration, not severity. Avoid the use of acute and chronic to describe patients, parts of the body, treatment, or medication.


  • chronic dialysis
  • chronic heroin users
  • acute administration of epinephrine
  • chronic diagnosis
  • chronic care
  • chronic aspirin therapy


  • long-term dialysis
  • long-term heroin users
  • immediate administration of epinephrine
  • long-standing diagnosis of a chronic disease
  • long-term care
  • long-term aspirin therapy
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • acute renal failure
  • chronic arthritis
  • acute nephritis


  • acute, severe cystitis
  • acute, mild pruritus

Exception: Acute abdomen is a specific medical condition


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